As any camper knows, there are tents and then there are better tents. Best camping tent brands really depend on where you’re camping, when, and your budget.
With that said, there are some names in camping gear that will always stand out.
Here are some ideas for your camping tent shopping list that might help you select the best camping tent brands for you. Always keep in mind that “best tent brands” is subjective, and can change according to your needs.
For example, a company that once might have been listed as being the best tent manufacturer could have a change of management, and their once stellar tent quality might change.
Weight, frequency of use, season, and other factors can influence the perception of best.
Best Backpacking Tent Brands
For a backpacking tent, you want to look for two keywords: light and durable. Easy to set up comes in as a close third.
Top tent brands that fit this description include:
- Coleman: Coleman tents have been around for a long time. While they might not be the absolute best, they are a reliable brand that will give you several seasons of good service. Their tent sizes range from personal to family. They are generally more oriented toward summer, spring, or fall camping, but they are relatively lightweight and portable. Prices vary by size, but overall are reasonable.
- MSR (Mountain Safety Research): The name says it all. They make excellent lightweight backpacking tents, as well as several other types. A lot of time and thought has gone into their designs, including their backpacking tents. They are a bit pricier than Coleman, but if you can scrape up the cash, they are worth the difference.
- Big Agnes: This is a small company that specializes in camping gear. They make lovely backpacking tents, lightweight and durable. They are quite a bit pricier than Coleman, for example, but you’re paying for quality.
Best Emergency Tent Brands
- Survival Frog’s Tactical Bivvy: Technically speaking, a bivvy isn’t exactly a tent. It’s more of a covered sleeping space. But if you want a tiny tent that will fit in your bug-out bag, or even your purse or your pocket, this little guy is about perfect. Made of Mylar, it won’t stand up to extended use, but if you’re fleeing the zombies or running from a forest fire, this little baby won’t slow you down appreciably and it will give you a decent shelter once you reach a safe location.
- Snugpak: While a little pricier than Survival Frog, Snugpak puts out a good line of small tents. They have reinforced seams and a low profile that makes them a good choice if you’re expecting windy or wet weather. They aren’t “hot” tents (tents made to use with heaters or camp stoves) but with the right number of people, you’ll remain reasonably warm.
- Marmot: Another upper-end tent brand featuring tight seams, reasonable headroom, and under pole construction, as well as double zippered doors and a vestibule for storage. They are a bit pricey, but if you want a tent that will last through several seasons, Marmot is a good choice.
Best Summer/Budget Tent Brands
- Coleman: Coleman has a variety of tent sizes and styles that are priced accordingly. If you just need a tent for the occasional summer camp out, their lower-end tents are a good choice. They make great family/group tents. Possibly the top of their line is the 6-person Elite Weathermaster, with built-in LED lights. Although it has received some mixed reviews, most people loved it.
- Ozark Trail: This is an excellent brand for family campouts. Ozark trail tents will last through several seasons. They are reasonably watertight if pitched correctly, and will stand up to some wind. Although, if you are expecting high winds, it’s good to find a hill or a bluff where you can get some protection. They provide an excellent summer shelter, keeping out bugs and other small unwanted camping guests.
- River Country: Classic A-frame tents with a small footprint. Low priced for modest budgets, and lightweight for easy backpacking. Their products include a hammock rainfly, making it easy to keep the rain off your comfy sleeping net.
Best Winter Tent Brands
- Big Agnes: Madhouse 8 is their basecamp mountaineering tent, designed specifically for rough weather. Designed to accommodate several people and give room for serving food and sharing amenities.
- MSR: Winter tents from this company range from quick shelters to family-sized tents. With a wide variety of shelters from which to choose you’re likely to find at least one that will meet your needs. Again, MSR tents tend to be a little bit on the pricier side, but they are usually well worth the difference.
- Geertop: Reasonably priced, lightweight gear. The notable item from Geertop is their hammock tents and accessories, especially the hammock quilt. Properly set up, hammocks offer a place to sleep that is free from rocks, sways with a gentle rocking motion, and that’s not likely to flood with the first bit of rain. The hammock quilt provides much needed insulation beneath your sleeping space.
Hot Tent Brands
These are tents that can have a heater or stove safely installed.
- Cimarron: Cimarron makes amazing pyramid tents. They can be used as four-man tents without a stove, or a two-man tent with a stove. They are super lightweight, and can easily be backpacked. More than that, if you want to save just a little bit more on weight, you can use your trekking pole as a tent pole, thanks to a special attachment that comes with the tent.
- Redcliff: This is another pyramid tent. It’s super simple to set up because it has one central pole, and the edges are staked to the ground. It doesn’t include a ground cloth because you will be setting up your backpacking wood stove in the center of the tent. If you’re thinking tipi, only with a stovepipe instead of a flap, you wouldn’t be far wrong. There’s a special panel through which the pipe will extrude.
Selecting the best camping tent brands has a lot to do with the purpose for which you’ll use your tent. It’s a balance of budget, construction, frequency of use, and season of use.
With that said, may you find the best camping tent for you, and happy camping!